Sweetwater board votes to remove Superintendent Ed Brand

Trustees: Move will help give district fresh start

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - The Sweetwater Union High School District superintendent is on his way out. 

On Monday night, the board of trustees voted in closed session to put Ed Brand on paid administrative leave effective July 3 and ending Oct. 2 when his contract was set to expire.

The trustees, who are serving as temporary members until a new board is elected in December, said the move is a way to help give the district a fresh start. 

Parents, teachers and community members cheered when the decision was announced during the school board meeting.

"He hasn't represented this district very well. He's made some bad decisions. We can't move forward with him here and we need to start fresh," said Mary Adato.

Brand was set to retire in October when his contract expires. He will still collect his annual salary of $252,000 while on leave. Trustees said they will likely use him as a consultant. 

"This isn't a disciplinary action and we need to have him to consult and talk to him about issues," said board president John McCann.

Some parents said they were not surprised.

"That was the only way that he was going to go. Dr. Brand and money, he wasn't just going to stay for the better of the district," said Adato.

"I think it's a good thing to get the ship moving forward; give the interim a chance to get their feet wet and get things stabilized," said Bob Freels, a teacher at Hilltop High School. 

Temporary board member Susan Hartley said the decision was made so an interim superintendent will have more time before the new board is elected in December.

"We thought with a longer period of time that it would be really good for somebody to come in sooner rather than later in order to get up to speed on all the issues," said Hartley.

A meeting will be held Wednesday to talk about naming an interim superintendent.

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